Edgartown selectmen Tuesday followed the recommendation of animal control officer (ACO) Barbara Prada and voted to issue a permanent restraint order against Jaxx, a 5-year-old pit bull that bit his owner’s neighbor in an unprovoked attack on Dec. 14.
The restraint order requires that Jaxx be on a leash at all times when outside his house, and that his owner, Brian Scott, immediately leash him before he opens his front door.
In December, Jaxx ran up to Luiz Paulo DeMiranda, Mr. Scott’s neighbor, and bit him on the arm as he walked to his car while talking to his wife on his cell phone. Mr. Scott was not home at the time of the attack. His roommate, Kevin Hathaway, had let Jaxx outside to play when the attack happened.
Mr. DeMiranda was treated at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Jaxx was quarantined in the pound until Christmas Eve, the full quarantine period allowed.
The victim, Mr. DeMiranda, did not attend the Tuesday dog hearing. Mr. DeMiranda and his wife have since moved from the property.
Ms. Prada told selectmen she believed the attack would not have occurred if Mr. Scott was home. She characterized Jaxx as puppy-like and told selectmen that neither she nor any of her employees had any issue with the dog while he was quarantined.
In a report submitted to selectmen, Ms. Prada said that the attack was “somewhat unusual to deal with because all the parties involved lived on the same piece of property at the time of the incident.” Once a dog leaves its property unrestrained, she said, that owner has violated the leash law. However, a dog is allowed to run around unrestrained on its owner’s property.
Ms. Prada said she had spoken to Mr. DeMiranda about what he wanted to see happen as a result of the complaint. “He stated that he would feel awful if the dog did the same thing to someone else, and he just wants the owner, Brian Scott, to be more careful with the dog,” she said in her report.
Ms. Prada said she believes Mr. Scott is a responsible dog owner. Mr. Scott used to live in Oak Bluffs with Jaxx. In the report, Ms. Prada said she reached out to the animal control office in Oak Bluffs and found no history of previous complaints or incidents related to the dog.
Mr. Scott and Mr. Hathaway both attended the hearing and spoke positively of Jaxx. “This is not an incident that has ever happened before,” Mr. Scott said to selectmen. “I’ve had him for over five years.”
Selectman Margaret Serpa said they were going to take Ms. Prada’s recommendation and “hope this is the end of it.”